9 Things to Do in Busan, South Korea

I spent my student exchange programme in Seoul and went to Busan for a short getaway.

Here is a list of things to do in Busan (click on them to jump straight to my reviews):

  1. Gwangalli Beach
  2. Jagalchi Market
  3. Nampo
  4. Busan Aquarium
  5. Dalmaji-gil Road + Art Flea Market
  6. Nurimaru APEC House
  7. Haeundae Beach
  8. Gamcheon Culture Village
  9. Beomeosa Temple

Otherwise, read on for some narration of my trip and some ramblings.

Just back from Dance Class at Winners Dance School!
I went for Girls Hip Hop dance class with Sinlin, my very first Girls hip-hop class!
It was full of waves, hip movement. Not used to dancing sexily but i enjoyed the class, hehe, shake shake shake hips!

Our dance instructor at Winners Dance School
Sinlin and i and our dance instructor^^
hehehe my card ^^

Shagged but today I’ll blog about my Busan trip before sleeping, hope i can finish before i fall asleep! 😀

I went to Busan for 3D2N from October 12-14th, where i stayed at HiKorea Hostel.
It was recommended by my friends and furthermore, its near Haeundae Beach! ( can watch sunrise/sunset!)
Thus i decided to stay there  🙂
I went Busan with my SNU Buddy friends, Yuni, Jenessa and Julie.

Getting Your KR Youth Pass

As we went for 3D2N, we bought the KR youth pass, 67700won for unlimited rides. But it can only be used for 3 days. Should we have bought the normal KTX fares, it would around 110k won for to and fro rides, so it was quite a huge saving!

But unfortunately, we went to reserve our seats too late, hence we couldn’t take the earlier rides like 8am/9am. We opted for the 11 am ride.

If you don’t know where to get your KR pass, here are the directions:

Getting our KR pass for Busan

Don’t go to the travel centre. Get your KR pass at the counter on the left

hehe, me and my KR pass and our carriage! Jen was too lazy to come out to take a photo, I was the more hardworking traveller 😛

Finally, the train has started to move!
 
As i had animal behaviour midterms, hence i brought my studying materials on board. Sometimes i feel im too hardworking for an exchange student

I love my colourful highlighters. I use different colours to differentiate parts of the readings. Yellow colour for the main title, red for the subtitle, green for main points.

After a 2-3hours ride, we finally reached Busan!

 
Busan
Busan

I was lugging my luggage bag while the rest carried their backpacks. Yes, we are only staying for 2 nights and yes i brought a small luggage bag.

 It was such a hassle that for that period of time, all i can think of was to dump my luggage in our room before exploring Busan. And thus we made our way for our accommodation first before having our lunch.

the buzzer and me, always fascinated by it

our first meal, Lotteria. my tender grill chicken kept sliding everywhere. In the end, i gave up trying to hold it in the burger and just decided to eat it layer by layer.

Rating: average. the tendergrill chicken tasted like burger king’s tendergrill chicken. not much difference but its expensive!

A cute motel we saw, pretty creative!

 
Jenessa was our itinerary planner for the Busan trip and she did a great job! Kudos to her for all the planning. She memorised all the locations and directed us the way.
 
Our Itinerary for Day1:
1)Gwangalli Beach
2)Jagalchi Market
3)Nampo

1) Gwangalli Beach

Gwangalli Beach Metro Directions
We took exit 5 and after that, we turned to the left and walked beside some construction site. there were directions pasted around and we also followed some of the people who seemed to be going to the same place as us.
Panorama view of Gwangalli Beach
Panorama view of Gwangalli Beach

Pardon the poor resolution as it was taken with the handphone.

 
busy Yuni, busy bee
 
Gwangalli Beach
Gwangalli Beach
 
 
 

This was the most comical moment. I wanted them to help me take an illusion of me holding onto the sun. And  Yuni and Julie crouched down to take the photo. Jen couldn’t help laughing at us and snapped this photo. The BTS of an illusion shot.

We stayed at the beach for more than an hour, until the sun has set. The beach was gorgeous

 
 
Sunset at Gwangalli Beach
Sunset 2 at Gwangalli Beach
Night view at Gwangalli Beach
Night view at Gwangalli Beach
 

Review of Gwangalli Beach

The beach was awesome. There was some performance nearby us but we didnt go because we weren’t keen on the music genre. It’s a good spot for couples and families. I saw quite a number of couples and families hanging out there. There are cafes and food nearby so you could enjoy your meals while watching the sunset/the beach view.

 

2) Jagalchi Market

After that, we took the metro and we went to the Jalgalchi Market as it was a tourist hotspot.

At that time i knew there was an event at Jagalchi but I thought that we wouldn’t be able to catch it but we did haha

Busan Jagalchi Festival
Busan Jagalchi Festival
when we saw these banners we were still wondering if we were at the Jagalchi market

until we saw this fish looking sign, then we were like, ‘ oh ok, so this is the market’.
There were many stalls selling fresh seafood, but we didnt quite like the fishy smell hence we didnt eat there, we only looked around to see what is so famous about this fish market, and as it turned out, the fresh seafood.

fresh seafood at Jagalchi market
fresh crab at Jagalchi market
this lady was touting us but we declined,sorry ahjumma, today we don’t feel like eating seafood:P
rows and rows of stalls selling seafood, it was a long stretch
rows of fresh fishes at Jagalchi market
i don’t know whether is this a makeshift food area or its permanently like this
apparently, there is this indoor market, we didnt want to go in there as we were afraid of the fish smell that might stay on our clothes
 

we chanced upon a performance, with the elderly singing oldies and dancing to it. Its always interesting to watch old ajussi and ahjummas dancing.

Jagalchi Market Review

If you are a seafood lover, you should come here to try the seafood because that’s what they are famous for. But if you aren’t, then the market wouldn’t interest you much. I’m neutral, so I came just to see. As for those fashionistas, please don’t wear expensive clothes or your favourite clothes, you don’t wanna get the fishy smell on your clothes nor step in fishy water in your shoes! (;

3) Nampo

We heard from our friends that the Nampo side has some shopping malls hence we decided to check it out. Then we chanced upon the film festival. Today was actually the last day of the film festival. But in the end, we couldn’t find the shopping mall, but nevermind, haha i shopped too much already ;p

Se the 4 men at the top left of the advertisement? the 4 gangster-like men? They were featured in my level 1 Korean textbook! i was so excited to see what I’ve seen in my textbook to appear in front of my eyes!

the palms of all the film directors for the past decades

the cute mascot! ah hahaha, initially i didnt dare to take a photo with him, then i was thinking, its either now or never. so i summoned my courage and walked up to him, and gestured to him while speaking in smattering Korean and yay, he got what i mean.

 

We had our dinner at this heungkong banjeom. Recently i found out that its available near Seoul National University station too, just that they don’t sell my favourite jjm T_T

me and jen had jjm, it was jen’s first time trying jjm. julie and yuni tried another dish , icant remember what dish.

Ratings: 4/5
Its somewhat average, food in korea is always nice for me. the portion is small though hence i didnt give 5/5. i  like the noodle and the sauce. the onions was nice. the taste of the sauce overtook the onions so thats why i dared to eat it. otherwise, i dont eat cuz i dont like onion taste.

here is another photo if youre looking for it. its in one of the small alleys. unforunately i cant remember the directions.

 

apparently because some korean shops wanna be cool, they use english, albeit, it turned out comical and sounded wrong. * if you know what i mean*

The table – Delicious love making just for you!

hmmm, i guess they meant to say they made the food with love for their customers? 😉

and omg saw this lorry filed to the brim with oranges.

we tried some 호떡 because we saw a long Q for it. Long Q always means popular for me and feeling hungry, i decided to try it. Apparently, they have been on TV before.

 

How they make the 호떡:

Ratings: 4/5
Although they were on TV but my 호떡, i like the ‘rice cake’ thingy ( idont know what it is made of), nice to chew. i like the nuts in it. But, they somehow didnt spread my brown sugar properly, it was all stuck at one corner or i didnt know im supposed to make it spreaded properly. So when i was finishing my 호떡, it became suddenly very sweet since only when i was finishing it, then my tongue got into contact with 70% of the sugar. But other than that, i like it.

after our snack, we decided to head back to our dorm to prepare for the long day ahead. Excited to travel and see new places! WHEEEEE!

Busan DAY 2

Gosh im so pissed with myself for not planning my trips in advance and being so last minute. No more jeonju trip tomorrow. so tomorrow and Saturday I have nothing to do, SIAN

But nevermind, i can go next time, maybe next week or during my graduation trip or something haha. *cheers up*

okayys, so today ill be blogging about my trip to Busan. Usually ill set the date of my blog post as the day i went for the trip. But today, ill just make an exception. I went Busan a few weeks ago, and only till now, then i have the time to blog. Yes, thanks to my 1mth plus of mid terms. Engineering mod takes up a lot of time. Its like if you dont study, you really cant do any question. And even if you study, you probably also cant do much unless u memorise. Yeah, reality kicks in.

I had a great sleep on the first night, gosh the bed was so firm and the pillow was a bit hard, but with a snuzzy blanket, I had a good sleep. I wanted to watch the sunrise at the Haeundae Beach but when Yuni asked sleepily,’ Are you sure you wanna go?’ then i was like, ok everyone so tired, we will go tomorrow instead.

and I went back to sleep. After that, we finally woke up to get ready for breakfast. Previously at Seoulwise guesthouse, we never really made it for breakfast. But for Busan trip, hehe we woke up early for breakfast!

 
the guesthouse staff preparing the bread and orange juice for us 😀
 
After that, we finally set off to explore BUSAN!
 
see my excited expression 😀
don’t laugh at my face. i know my dark rings are terrible.
 
But anyway, WHOOHOO!  Jen, our awesome planner( she is really good at it!), came up with the itinerary for the day:

Busan Aquarium

lunch at the beef porridge

Dalmaji-gil Road + Art Flea Market

Nurimaru APEC House

Haeundae Beach

Dinner at Shinsegae

 
I LOVE THIS KIND OF PACKED schedule! makes the time constructive, and that was also the reason why i fall sick easily.overworked. but i like it! don’t nag at me to rest more. I’m just a workaholic.
 

4) Busan Aquarium

 
As we stayed at HiKorea Hostel, they have discount for the Busan Aquarium ticket.
If you wanna find out more, visit HERE!
 
 
If you’re staying at the guesthouse and you don’t know how to get to the aquarium, fret not, they have lots of information on the directions to the Busan Aquarium and their staff are very helpful!
on our way to the beach , it was DAMN HOT! thank god i brought sunglasses ^^v
at the beautiful haeundae beach ( i used pop art on my camera so the colour resolution is vastly different)

Beautiful view

Funny thing is, we saw tarantula at the aquarium. We were quite puzzled because its supposed to be the AQUARIUM, unless tarantula CAN survive in the sea, which im quite sceptical.

Busan Aquarium Review: 2/5

As i have visited Sentosa’s Sea Aquarium before, i was rather disappointed by the Busan Aquarium as it is way smaller than Singapore’s. The aquarium was not as grand as i assumed, it was quite boring. Its like substandard which i wasn’t expecting that. Maybe that’s the reason why they had to give a discount to attract people to go there. #justsaying

Directions:

Approximately 1.4km from Nurimaru APEC House along Haeundae Beach (25-minute walk)

For us, as the hostel we stayed at provided directions to all the places of interest, hence if you are staying a the HiKorea Hostel, you can just refer to the directions that they provide.

Here are some photos of the aquarium if you are still interested in it despite my poor review on it:

Here are some photos of the aquarium if you are still interested in it despite my poor review on it:
Sharks at Busan Aquarium
sharkie sharkie!
WHOA so near me!!!
HA, all of us were busy selca-ing that we didnt notice julie taking photo of us except Jen!
 
holy shit, this piranhas is humongous!they look harmless but the moment they open their mouths ;/
penguins! reminds me of Gina *smirk*
Gina, if youre reading this blog, dont bash me up when you see me hor ;P
pretending to be the tour guide, come come, this is the penguin exhibit. im peiqi, your tour guide
now pretending to be a penguin, if my blue sleeves and blue jeans are black, i think i really look like one. albeit a long legged penguin, new species hehe
otter…i think…
starfish! darent lift it out of water much
our group photo!
more fishes again
 
jellyfish! i like staring at them. plain colour one here. you want many colours? scroll down, let you choose, orange blue green
 
 
 
im nt scared of you sharks! kicks it.
i think ill tremble if i really see a real live one.
this is a real shark. but frozen. even though its dead, i still feel scared when i go near it.
selcaaaaa, ignore that mannequin
funny konglish. korean translated to english. wow so someone’s navel is fuzzy eh
 

Haeundae Wonjo Halmae Gukbap (Best Beef Soup)

After our busan aquarium visit, we went to have lunch at the Gukbap Alley since it was recommended by my friends.
 
the shop was full of signatures and photos of celebrities who have visited the shop

Haeundae Wonjo Halmae Gukbap Review:

Ratings: 4/5

It was nice. the soup was not very spicy, first time i ever finish drinking my stew. usually its too spicy for me and i always end up choking on it. but the serving isnt big. not enough to satisfy my huge stomach. i minus 1 point cuz of small serving. the beef was ok.

Address:

Gukbap Alley

48-nyeon Jeontong Haeundae Wonjo Halmae Gukbap (The Original 48-year-old Traditional Haeundae Granny Gukbap):

612-2 U-1-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan (부산해운대구1 612-12)

+82 51 746 0387

5) Dalmaji-Girl Road and Art Flea Market

Next, to the Dalmaji-gil Road, I expected some interesting stuff but turns out it was just a road, nothing much, and a pavilion. Apparently, i think we came at the wrong timing, There was this signage about it being a good place to have photos taken when its at evening- night.
 
it’s supposed to look better when at night
Next, we went to the art flea market that was right beside it
we thought it was a big place but it turned out to be…small ._.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We thought we would spend hours at the Dalmaji-Gil Road and art flea market but it turned out we spent less than an hour there. Then we headed down the hill and this was the awesome view we got.
 

Dalmaji-Gil Road and Art Flea Market Review:

Rating: 4/5

The view while we walked down the Dalmaji-Gil Road was awesome, but at the top, the Pavilion and art flea market were the only attractions. Other than that, there was nothing much. We spent less than an hour on Dalmaji-Gil Road. As mentioned earlier, I think we came at the wrong timing hence the view of the pavilion wasn’t very good. So if you are intending to come here, it would be better to come at evening to take photos of the awesome view while you climb up the Dalmaji-Gil Road.

If you are interested in the Art Flea Market, here are the details:
When: Every Saturday and Sunday until November 2013
Where: Haewoljeong Pavilion on Dalmaji-gil, Haeundae
Opening Hours: 2 p.m. – 9p.m.
For more info.: (051)749-4063
For directions to Dalmaji-gil Road:
From Busan Station, take city bus No. 139 or 140 / city experss bus (jwaseok bus) No. 239 or 240 and get off at Mido Apt. Then walk 10-15 min along the sign (totally takes 1 hour).

or

In front of exit 1 of Haeundae station (Busan Subway Line 2), take city bus No. 100 and get of at Yeongnam Apt. Then walk 10-15 min along the sign (totally takes 50 min).

6) Nurimaru APEC House

Next, we cabbed to Nurimaru APEC house, basically its just a conference centre where the ministers from all over the world met up for the economic policies.
Nurimaru APEC House Robes Worn by Politicians
I can’t remember why i took this photo but i think its because Lee Hsien Loong wore it.
 
i like how they infused Korean cultural colours with the modern. Red and Green.
SINGAPORE!
 

Nurimaru APEC House Review:

Rating: 4/5

The APEC house closes around 6, i think the main highlight is the scenery around here. Inside the house, there is nothing much interesting unless you are interested in policies and politics. But since its free entry, just go in so you can take nice photos!

You can get to APEC house by walking from Haeundae Beach.

7) Haeundae Beach

After that, we headed to Haeundae Beach, whereby we passed by the Mermaid.
 
i had a fun time scaring people on this bridge. purposely run on it to shake it vigorously. *mischievous grin*
View of Nurimaru APEC House
view of APEC house from afar
 
I don’t know what is the name of this area, i have a feeling its DongBaek Park but I’m not very sure.
 
 

Haeundae, The Mermaid

 
The mermaid! there is a legend behind it, click HERE to find out about it!
snapped some photos while nearing Haeundae Beach, I did not dare to climb too near to the sea
Back at the beach, the weather was so good that day, no rain at all- awesomenesss
cool eh, computers at the beach. indeed very high tech
some music, buskers?
saw this cute guy sitting, too bad din get a good shot. jen was like,’ wow his eyes are really nice’
Off for dinner at Shinsegae!
 
Turns out its just like shinsegae in Seoul, shopping centre, nothing much interesting to me. As i wasnt feeling well, we didnt go Discopangpang in the end.
 

Busan Day 3

 

Itinerary for today:

1)Gamcheon Culture Village

2)Beomeosa Temple

Sunrise at Busan Haeundae Beach

The initial plan was to watch the sunrise yesterday morning but we couldn’t wake up. And as this morning would be our last chance hence i was determined to wake the rest up. Last night we checked online and found out that this morning’s sunrise would be at 5.27am. But the weird thing is when we woke up at 5 am, the sky was already bright. It wasn’t dark.

I had a bad feeling that the sun might already be up. I was a little sad, thinking that we really missed our last chance. We were contemplating whether to just go back to sleep or try our luck since we have already gotten up and prepared for it.

I was glad that we did the latter. When we walked to the Haeundae Beach, we did not see any sun. We thought that the sun was already up but hidden by clouds, we were about to leave when I had second thoughts. We decided to stay for 5 more minutes just to try our luck again. A few minutes later, we noticed something bright peeping up from the edge of the sea and the mountain. Oh boy, we did not miss the sunrise!

I was so excited and relieved that we did not leave. What a beautiful sunrise! (: Eh don’t laugh at my suaku-ness k, seeing the sunrise in a foreign land gives me a special feeling as compared to watching the sunrise at Singapore’s East Coast Park.

 
Sunrise at Haeundae Beach

Rewarded by the beautiful view of the sunrise, it was time to head back to our guesthouse to rest and wait for our breakfast that starts at 8 am. We had more than an hour to kill so we strolled back, enjoying the morning sea breeze.

On our way back, we found a shortcut to the beach. For the past 2 days, we had been taking the longer route to the beach without realising it. Our long route consists of walking to the Haeundae metro station, then we usually follow the directions from the station to the beach. It took us about 20minutes. The new shortcut took us less than 10 minutes. We felt so noob.

8) Gamcheon Culture Village

After our breakfast, we decided to visit Gamcheon Culture Village as Julie had to leave early. Due to time constraints, we decided to take the cab.  The village reminded me of the village at Hyehwa in Seoul. Both villages were very similar. Directions were given in the form of fish-like shaped wooden boards. It is quite easy to spot.

Gamcheon Culture Village Sights
look closely, they used the pants to decorate their potted plants
very colourful
notice the faces?
 
 
 
oops ‘accidentally’ poked someone’s butt .
hmmm which direction shall we go?
Gamcheon Culture Village
 
we ventured into some houses and were greeted by walls filled with signatures.
Dissolve MINE!
 
the hongkong lady was busy trying to find an empty space to do hers. her hong kong signature
so every house we went to has a meaning to it. the house where we signed in was the house of light.
signatures even on the ceiling. wah tall people. Finally hong kong lady found some empty space to sign!
at first, i did not realise this was a mirrored room. I was wondering how this room could contain so many people. Only then i noticed it was mirrored. Slow reaction -.-
we found some exercise area. Hahahaha all well fed in Korea, need to do so exercise to keep fit!
this room was quite cool, the machines were activated by sensors that are in turn activated when one walks past it.
isnt it colourful? brighten up one’s mood.
okay, the last photo of the village and we are off to the KTX Station!
 

Gamcheon Culture Village Review:

If you have yet to visit the village at Hyehwa, this would be a nice place to visit. The pros are the beautiful view and colourful houses. The cons are that it is quite inaccessible and there is not much stuff to do other than posing with the paintings on the houses. I think we only spent 1hour there as it’s just following the directions and walking. As I have visited the village at Hyehwa, I felt that this village was rather similar. The only difference is that i can see the sea while at Hyehwa, its just buildings below me.

Directions:

I took a cab but Kian has kindly provided me information with other modes of transportation so here you go:

By Bus & Metro

1)take subway line 1 to Toseong Station, exit 6

2) You will be facing an intersection. Turn right at the corner and walk straight. You will see a hospital on your right. The bus stop is right in front of the hospital.

3) take either Bus 2 or 2-2, it will take you to the GamCheon Culture Village at the top of the hill.

By Cab:

Tell the driver  Gamcheon Cultural Village (the actual name) or Gamcheon 2 East (the address)

 
We cabbed to Busan Station as we did not have enough time to take the bus.
julie and i
Jen and i
 
Yuni was in the front so i couldn’t snap a photo with her.
after sending Julie off, we made our way to Beomeosa Temple.
 

9) Beomeosa Temple

Initially, we wanted to cab from the Beomeosa station to the temple but couldn’t get any cab so we decided to take the bus instead. I expected the Beomeosa Temple to be large and special but it wasn’t. On the contrary, it was small and not much different from other temples that i have visited. Boring. The only fun part was climbing up. I was quite interested to hike up to reach the summit but as it was too impromptu and we had to catch our KTX later so we dropped the idea of hiking all the way up.

 
Here are some photos of the temple
Beomeosa Temple
 
so this explains why i saw so many large boulders. the power of nature, WHOA
 
hiking up on the boulders. we saw some hikers , they told us it takes 2hours to reach the summit.
i used pop art on my camera so the leaves looked extra vibrant. But even without the special function, it still looked nice.
 

Beomeosa Temple Review

Ratings: 2/5

I was disappointed by it. Nothing much interesting other than the huge boulders. If you’re on time constraint, you can just skip this temple. You won’t miss much stuff. I kind of regretted spending my last few hours at Busan going to this Beomeosa Temple. I should have visited other places instead.

Directions: 

If you are still keen to go, here you are:

Subway + Bus:

1) Beomeosa Station exit 5 or 7

2) walk between the 2 exits along the road for about 5 minutes and you will reach the Samsin bus stop.

3)take bus no. 90 and you will arrive at Beomeosa Temple Ticket office.

 

Back at our hostel, it was time to leave. Grabbed some dinner at a random pork restaurant near our hostel. Forgot to take photos so no review for it. Sorry!

As we checked out earlier in the morning and I did not want to lug my luggage with me the whole day. So I left my luggage under their care.  They were very friendly and stored my luggage in a room, making me feel at ease that my luggage was well taken care of.

Here are some photos of the guesthouse in case i hadn’t shown you guys:

 

hehe, our faces on the board with our reviews of it.  They had a lot of photos and reviews from every guest.
The place where we used to have our breakfast
where we dry our hair
the huge bathrooms
our room
double decker beds. Love the bed and blanket
helpful information on places of interest
the kitten that never fails to scare me
 

Hikorea Hostel Review:

Ratings: 4/5

Pros: 

free breakfast, comfortable bed, towels provided. Hairdryer provided. Useful information on places of interest provided. easily accessible. friendly staff. have a kitten to play with (for cat lovers)

Cons: 

bathroom- no privacy. Rooms are very narrow. There were 2 shower booths in each bathroom. 1 bathroom for males, 1 bathroom for females. One door for each bathroom. Only a glass partition separating the shower booths. So you could actually see other people bathing which means no privacy and i was quite shocked. So the only thing i dislike about the guesthouse is the no privacy part. And if the person at the corner of the bathroom is done with bathing and walks towards the door, she will pass by the booth beside hers. yes, no privacy.

I didnt know the rooms are that small. Only have space for 1 person to walk when they get off their bunk beds. But hey, i doubt you will spend much time in your room when youre in busan to travel so that was not a big issue to me. Yups thats about all for the review on the guesthouse.

location: very good , < 5minutes walk from haeundae beach. very near subway too. there are restaurants nearby. its near Busan Aquarium too, near quite a number of places of interest.

 
 

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